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He may pack the sunscreen and rack up thousands of frequent flyer miles, but for Provost Michael Aiken, this trip is strictly business. The provost leaves today on a whirlwind two-week trip which will take him half way around the world to Korea. He will meet both with officials at other universities, and alumni and trustees from the University. "The purpose of the trip to Korea is two-fold," Executive Assistant to the Provost Linda Koons said Tuesday. "One is the exchange program, and the other is to meet with alumni there." While overseas, Aiken will visit Korea's Yonsei University and Seoul National University. He will also meet with the country's minister of education to explore the possibility of student and faculty exchange programs. But even half way around the world, Aiken will visit with many alumni during the course of his trek. He is scheduled to meet with the Korean ambassador to the United States, a University alum, and the president of Wang Computer in Korea, a College graduate as well. The trip will be complemented by additional stops in Hawaii, California and Washington to meet with other alumni. On the way to Korea, Aiken will stop in San Francisco to meet with both University alumni and trustees. The provost will then return via Hawaii and Seattle, where he will visit the Penn Alumni Club of Washington. According to Koons, Aiken prefers to stay on campus and tackle administrative tasks here, rather than travel. But she said administrators increasingly recognize the need for both international educational opportunities, and for strong alumni ties -- similar to peer schools such as Harvard and Princeton -- which can aid the University in several ways, most notably in the area of "development," or fund raising. Recently, for example, the provost visited St. Petersburg University in the newly-formed Commonwealth of Independent States, also to investigate the possibility of exchange programs. "I couldn't believe it," Koons said. "Two trips in the space of six weeks."

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